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FOOTBALL: Launton Sports on long road to recovery
12:00pm Wednesday 9th October 2013 in Sat Local
It's been a long road to recovery for Launton Sports.
When the club dropped out of the Hellenic League in 2011 it appeared to be in freefall.
Beset with financial problems, they finished their debut season back in the Oxfordshire Senior League in last place with only two wins to their name all term.
Since then the club has rebuilt both on and off the field and improved its league position each year.
“It’s been a rebuilding process,” said club treasurer Mark Walton.
“In the first year we scraped by and in the second we had a lot of fundraisers which helped with cash-flow.
“This year we have a new sponsorship deal with John Nicholls Trading, which has helped put the club on a stable footing and has provided us with new kits and equipment.”
Launton are targeting a title challenge this season, but say that even if they won the league they would not seek promotion back to the Uhlsport Hellenic League.
“Our priority now is more about bringing kids through and providing a pathway for them,” said chairman Gareth Partlett.
“We’re working now towards becoming a Community Charter Standard club. “We’re having regular joint committee meetings between the boys’, men’s and women’s teams so we can establish common goals for the whole club and move forward as a united organisation.”
The new focus marks a shift back towards the initial ethos behind the founding of the club in 1980, who broke away from the pre-existing Launton United to provide opportunities for local players after the old organisation’s increasing dependence on players from RAF Bicester.
The club was elected into the Oxfordshire Senior League in 1990, before moving up to the Hellenic League in 2007.
It was Launton’s greatest achievement, but before long the club’s future was under threat as they struggled to cope financially with the step up.
“It wasn’t a great venture to be honest, because it crippled the club financially,” said lifelong club supporter and former chairman Tony Cotter.
“It’s very difficult to keep a club going at that level and I think a few of the committee members found it difficult to manage when the club was struggling.” But, after coming through those difficult times, chairman Partlett believes that the future looks bright for Launton Sports.
He said: “We improved last year and so far we’ve done even better this season.
“We’ve retained some good players and due to our facilities and the set-up here we’ve been able to attract some better players.
“Membership of the club also gives you membership of the social club, which I think really puts us at the heart of the community.”
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